5 Steps to an embodied, effective and enjoyable workout.

​Everyone wants an enjoyable and effective workout. Here are 5 steps to a more mindful experience.

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When I lived in New Zealand back in 2000 I met a personal trainer who was way ahead of his time. He shared with me his concept of bringing a client into their body and the moment, before they started their workout. To me this was a foreign concept, having the traditional, methodical lessons of University still in my head of warm-up, workout, cool-down, stretch. His clients at the time, like mine now, were very busy and stressed so getting them out of their head was vital for an effective workout.

Now, years later I have tweaked this concept meshing it with pilates foundations for a modern view.

Here are my five steps to get you embodied for an enjoyable and effective movement session.

Stop. Slow down. Breathe. Anchor

1.To start your session:

  • Stand comfortably with your arms by your sides
  • Shoulders relaxed away from your ears, eyes looking straight ahead
  • Shoulder blades floating on your back
  • Find your balance on the bottoms of your feet (mindfully anchor) as you gently wrap your abdominal muscles (corset your core unit) while feeling an imaginary string lightly float your head to the ceiling, lengthening your spine.

This is the beginning of what I call the “stacked” position. Learn it here in my Life Labs VIDEO.

2.Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Keep this breathing going, finding a rhythm and length of breath for you. Do this ten times easily as you observe how your body feels. Keep it simple….notice any areas feeling great as well as those holding some tension.

3.Start your workout as you keep your awareness in your body. This may seem like an obvious practice but think of those times you rampaged through a workout just to get it over with because you were tired or strapped for time. Now, be in your body. Be aware. Focus on the muscles working as you move.

4.Half way through your workout: Stop, slow down, breathe, anchor. Stand in the stacked position for ten breaths. This break should be a natural occurrence in a movement session as rest is important for recovery. Continue your workout.

5.Finish your workout in the stacked position. Flow through ten deep breaths, feeling your body as you started the session. Notice any areas of tension and bits now feeling fabulous!

The bonuses of using this practice are:

  • Better posture
  • More confidence

I know this simple straightforward practice will benefit your activities and how you feel. Use it for your next movement session and let me know how it goes.

Share your experiences with this below or find me on twitter @positivelyslim

Has this inspired you to discover a more mindful way to live?

Check out my Simple Healthy Living EBOOK here.

Charlene Hutsebaut

Corporate Wellness Speaker, Personal Trainer, Pilates Instructor, Writer & Brand Ambassador, Charlene Hutsebaut, Personal Training & Wellbeing Consultancy | www.charlenehutsebaut.com | @positivelyslim

Charlene Hutsebaut B.P.E., B.Ed., CSCS is a personal trainer, pilates instructor, brand ambassador, speaker and writer with over 15,000 client hours and 26 years of experience in the fitness industry. Charlene was honoured to be a Top 10 Global Finalist in the Life Fitness -Personal Trainers to Watch Competition 2015. She was the only UK woman chosen and one of only three in the top ten. The same year she was awarded a Mayor of London Volunteer Award for getting her community moving & united. In 2016 she was part of the team at Eversholt UK Rails Group to win a Vitality Insurance - Healthiest Workplace Award. In 2017 she was asked to take part in the Periscope TV Wellness Warriors Channel and was shortlisted for We Are The City Sport Award. Charlene runs her Personal Training Consultancy in London at the exclusive St. Pancras Hotel Spa and is a sought after inspirational corporate wellness speaker, creating bespoke wellness initiatives to get employees thinking about their self-care through workshops & executive senior leader programmes. She has had regular fitness columns in Passport – the inflight magazine for Monarch Airlines and Total Sports Performance. She is the fitness expert for the book The De-Stress Effect and was featured in How To Hygge. She has written for HuffPostUK, Bodyfit, Prima, FitPro, Fitness Life New Zealand and has been featured in London, Fabric, Grove, Woman, Natural Health magazines, as well as The Daily Mail and Express. | Charlene has been a brand ambassador for Huggies Diapers with Lisa Scott-Lee, Simply Great Drinks alongside UK Olympian Victoria Pendleton and TV’s Doctor Christian Jessen and most recently with Long Tall Sally & Nominou. www.charlenehutsebaut.com | Find Charlene most days sharing the healthy realistic message on twitter, periscope, facebook and instagram at @positivelyslim


Go to the profile of Dr. Mandy Lehto
over 6 years ago
I love this idea, and have practiced it when being reminded constantly in pilates. It never occurred to me to self-administer the technique during a non-pilates workout. I can't wait to try this! Thank you.
Go to the profile of Charlene Hutsebaut
over 6 years ago
Hi Mandy. It is wonderful you have been taught these foundations in pilates already! There are definite benefits during other types of workouts too. My favorite is to use this during weight training sessions. More mindful movement means better engagement of muscles, safer technique and an opportunity to really connect with your body. Enjoy!